As we wind down towards winter break, I am filled with appreciation for being at Comstock these past 2 ½ years. I hope everyone takes a moment sometime during the break to reflect and celebrate as well as to express our appreciation for one another. I want to thank you for everything you do to support our school community. It takes all of our efforts together to provide this rich middle school experience for our students.
We have put so many wonderful things in motion this fall. First, we started the year with the joyful news that our enrollment had increased by 80 students and we were able to add five new sections. I know the word around town was that Comstock was the best kept secret, but it is not a secret anymore. The great work that has been done here by this staff is now being known: you are always growing and reaching to be your very best; you collaborate well and are so motivated and creative. I look forward to spreading the word more and continuing to build our programs as well as our enrollment.
In October, forty students and seven staffmembers were trained as Safe School Ambassadors, working to support positive student interactions. We have also trained the whole school in Comstock Chill Skills.
These skills help all of us deal with stressful situations, by reminding us to “Just Breathe”! Thank you to
all who support these programs.
We also held an election for the first time in many years to create a student government. We now have school officers and a student council that have met twice. Their first foray into decision making has resulted in the development of a few clubs at Comstock; another common school activity that has been missing
Further, our elective and physical education departments are also supporting the development of our students by providing opportunities for them to move, to create and to explore their passions. I believe that, first and foremost, the cultivation of human beings is the backdrop for great academic achievement.
I also believe that we are now on the right path to make this possible for the young lives entrusted to us.
Our core subject departments are collaborating in PLCs and department meetings to incorporate the Common Core. I love seeing the Close reading activities, the MARS tasks in the library and hearing of the great new ideas for Project Based learning and more from Social Studies and Science teachers. Bravo!
Our parent groups are working to provide support for many school activities: 8th grade fun day,
school dances and more. We have had 50 or more parents participating in our meetings every month , which is unprecedented! Although our parents work hard and may not be able to be here much, they care about their children and want to partner with us. We were also able to provide their families with some support as well: The Santa Rosa Community Health Clinics held a health fair at our site; the Santa Rosa Junior College has added two new ESL classes on the Comstock campus!
I can go on and on: Google Apps and Chromebooks, Renaissance Rallies, ALEKS incentives, Novel
writing, MLK Speech contest, music/drama performances, staff and student sports competitions, our Boys & Girls Club, the wonderful Library Techs, Office Staff and Instructional Aides, our hard-working custodians … I’m sorry if I left something out, but you get the picture: we do SO much.
So, please pace yourselves the next couple of days. We’ll go out with a bang on Thursday with our afternoon of fun and then a party that night. Then one more day to wrap things up and you are free!
Enjoy your time this season, at home or on an adventure, with family, friends, four-legged companions, a good book … I hope you have what you desire. Again, thank you for everything; Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Let’s make 2014 the best year of our lives!
Comstock has teamed up with the Santa Rosa Junior College to offer Adult English as a Second Language classes starting in January. Two classes will be offered to parents of students from Comstock and our feeder schools: Biella, Lehman, and Monroe Elementaries, and Piner High School. The SRJC staff led an introductory meeting at Comstock December 10 at 6pm. Seventy adults were registered, assessed and enrolled in these classes. Adults were told: "Congratulations, you are now college students"!
This fall, we trained 30 new students, and retrained 10 students from last year, as Safe School Ambassadors. The two day training helped students create bonds with and empathy for each other. They set their goals and dreams for the ideal campus where everyone feels safe, respected and treasured. Each of our 7 groups of students meets monthly with an advisor to discuss campus culture and how they can contribute to these goals by intervening when they can, reporting issues to adults and modeling great character and behavior.
The math department is collaborating on "MARS tasks": Tasks and assignments aligned with the new Common Core Standards for Mathematics. Teachers are teaming up and teaching students how to problem solve situations that require mathematical thinking. Students collaborate with each other and discuss how to solve real-life problems using the algebraic expressions. They then convey their ideas to the class. There is not one way to get the answer. Students work together to look at the many ways to look at a mathematical problem.
Math teachers started this process in October. At first, students were very hesitant to express themselves, but they soon caught on and were willing to risk being wrong since they were told "there isn't only one way and we are more interested in your thinking at this point in time".
Students are now loving math and think it is FUN!
This clip shows students talking about how to determine what materials to buy to build shelves. Ultimately, they will create an algebraic equation.